A source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Pittsburgh Steelers had agreed to a two-year contract with free agency cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Peterson, who turns 33 this summer, spent the last two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings following a ten-year career with the Arizona Cardinals that includes eight Pro Bowl appearances and three All-Pro selections.
During Monday’s episode of “All Things Covered,” Peterson stated the Steelers’ interest “came out of left field.”
“I’ve always been a huge supporter of Mike [Tomlin] teams being ready to play any given football game, even if they were outmatched on paper,” Peterson said. “They’ve always been a fierce football team, and he’ll have his squad ready to play. I’m looking forward to all the clichés, sayings, and the like that Coach will employ. My agent was doing his job, going around to see which clubs wanted me in their locker room, and Pittsburgh was one of the teams we thought would be a good fit for me.”
According to ESPN, Peterson, who is older than the average Steelers free agency signing, is poised to replace longstanding cornerback Cameron Sutton, who signed to a three-year contract with the Detroit Lions earlier Monday.
“I’m done discussing my age because the evidence is in the pudding,” Peterson remarked. “I know I can still play basketball. I work and exercise much too hard – and in a unique way. That’s the issue. I train differently than everybody else in the league. I practise and improve on stuff that I use and will utilise in games.”
Peterson, a 12-year veteran, said on his podcast that he hopes to play 14 years in the NFL. The intention is for him to end his career with the Steelers after signing a two-year contract.
“Pittsburgh is one of the most legendary clubs in the game, and what better way to round out my career than to be a part of something like that?” Peterson said. Later, he stated, “If we can work out the nuances and the years that I want in this deal… I don’t see myself moving around much after this contract.”
With the Vikings, Peterson was used in two unique offensive systems. Former coach Mike Zimmer advocated for a high proportion of press-man coverage. The other, instituted by head coach Kevin O’Connell and implemented by defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, placed him in a new role: zone roamer capable of anticipating throws and jumping routes for huge plays.
As a consequence, Peterson intercepted five passes in 2022, the second-most in his career for a single season. He welcomed his rediscovery as a playmaker.
“For the past two years, all I’ve heard is, ‘He’s washed up, he’s done.’” Peterson said this at the midseason. “… I’ve been here before, and I know what it takes to preserve it. And I want to be pushed and help this club win games in the future. Because I guarantee you that if I am challenged, my name will appear on the stat sheet. That’s why I’ve missed out on Pro Bowls and All-Pro selections. I’m present. I’m still here after twelve years.”
After the season, O’Connell dismissed Donatell and replaced him with Brian Flores, whose strategy includes more blitzing and hence a higher percentage of man defence – an approach that would have been ideal for Peterson early in his career.
In 12 NFL seasons, Peterson has 34 interceptions, 111 pass defences, and 610 tackles.
While Peterson said that his position with the Steelers has yet to be determined, he anticipates himself being utilised similarly to Sutton and former CB Joe Haden.
“I sort of saw myself being like those players, being a person that can be inserted into the game plan, not just lining up on one side of the field — being able to mix and match myself in other spots,” Peterson said. “I feel like the game has slowed down for me, especially at this point in my career. As a result, I view things at a different rate. I see things differently. I have a lot better awareness of what I have, and that’s why I’m in a position to create plays.”
Peterson hasn’t settled on a Steelers jersey number yet, although he wore No. 7 (Ben Roethlisberger’s previous number) in Minnesota and high school. At Arizona, he also wore No. 21 and No. 2 during JV football.
“I’d love to wear number seven,” Peterson added. “Seven has always had a particular place in my heart.”